Red Sox debate: Roger Clemens belongs in Hall of Fame

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Even if we did know who was using PEDs, how do you quantify how much it improved their performance? The intention of many different types of steroids is to help the body recover faster, which means you can work out more to build muscle faster. You still have to put in the work, so it’s not as if they injected themselves with a serum that instantly turned them into a superhero, a la Captain America.

Getting stronger may help you hit the ball further, but you still have to actually hit the ball first. Perhaps it can help a pitcher throw the ball a tick faster, but they still need to locate their pitches and come out ahead in the cerebral chess match that every encounter with an opposing hitter becomes. Steroids can’t help with that.

Without hulking out on PEDs perhaps a player like Bonds wouldn’t have hit 762 career home runs, but how many would he have hit? Do we simply chop 50 home runs from his total? 100? Many of those homers were hit deep enough that they would have cleared the fence even if he hadn’t taken substances that boosted his strength, but without knowing precisely how much further his increased strength allowed him to hit the ball it’s impossible to quantify how many of those home runs weren’t legitimate.

There are already players enshrined in Cooperstown despite having questionable ethics. Gaylord Perry had a reputation throughout his career of doctoring the baseball with everything from Vaseline to excessive rosin. The effects of his infamous “spitball” may have been more psychological than anything, but it was still against the rules.

What about the generations of players that used amphetamines? Many Hall of Famers used them at a time when they were legal, but they aren’t allowed anymore. You can’t call them cheaters if they didn’t break any rules that existed when they were taking “greenies”, but they clearly had an advantage over today’s players.

How do we differentiate the advantages these players had from the benefits of PEDs?

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